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Above- and Belowground Competition from Longleaf Pine Plantations Limits Performance of Reintroduced Herbaceous Species

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Abstract:



Although overstory trees limit the abundance and species richness of herbaceous vegetation in longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) plantations, the responsible mechanisms are poorly understood because of confounding among limiting factors. In fall 1998, research was initiated to determine the separate effects of above- and belowground competition and needlefall from overstory pines on understory plant performance. Three 13- to 15-yr-old plantations near Aiken, SC, were thinned to 0, 25, 50, or 100% of nonthinned basal area (19.5 m2 ha-1). Combinations of trenching (to eliminate root competition) and needlefall were applied to areas within each plot, and containerized seedlings of 14 perennial herbaceous species and longleaf pine were planted within each. Overstory crown closure ranged from 0 to 81%, and soil water and available nitrogen varied consistently with pine stocking, trenching, or their combination. Cover of planted species decreased an average of 16.5 and 14.1% as a result of above- and belowground competition, respectively. Depending on species, needlefall effects were positive, negative, or negligible. Results indicate that understory restoration will be most successful when herbaceous species are established within canopy openings (0.1–0.2 ha) managed to minimize negative effects from above- and belowground competition and needlefall. FOR. SCI. 49(5):681–695.

Keywords: Pinus palustris; biomass; cover; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; needlefall; resource availability; trenching

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Research Forester Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 3625 93rd Avenue SW, Olympia, WA, 98512, Phone: 360-753-7674; Fax: 360-956-2346 tharrington@fs.fed.us 2: Forester Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 320 Green Street, Athens, GA, 30602, 706-559-4321 cdagley@fs.fed.us 3: Research Ecologist Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 320 Green Street, Athens, GA, 30602, 706-559-4303 bedwards@fs.fed.us

Publication date: October 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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